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HP open source UX project unifies user experience

HP has delivered an open source project that unifies the user experience for disparate applications.

LAS VEGAS -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise has launched an open source UX that allows IT pros to provide a familiar user experience across different enterprise applications.

Grommet, introduced at the HP Discover conference this week, bridges consumer grade capabilities with an enterprise user experience framework, said Martin Fink, HP's CTO.

Grommet is the source technology behind HP products such as OneView, a network and systems management tool. The idea for Grommet came from CEO Meg Whitman, Fink said, after she heard about customer frustrations. Customers that try to bring HP products together can't do so easily, and they get different experiences, including simple things such as differences on the search bar.

"We are HP, why can't our stuff work together the same way?" was the question from Whitman that launched Grommet, Fink said. "We took that to heart."

Enterprises may have their own or use third-party developers to develop applications. "Invariably those [applications] will all come back and look differently, work differently, they won't all have a consistent user experience across the board," Fink said.

Grommet aims to deliver what customers expect from their user experience and allows designers and developers to work from the same platform.

IT staff will see value in Grommet as it starts to leverage applications code developed by different programmers, DevOps teams, or third-party consultants and give end-to-end enterprise applications a user experience that is consistent and familiar.

"The end-to-end capability will be important for customers' hybrid clouds, combining [on-premises] private clouds with hosted cloud services," said Jean Bozman, director of Infrastructure Research at Neuralytix, Inc., a research firm based in New York.

Jussi Galbraith, an information team lead for Adobe System Inc., has an analytics tool that has not been completely implemented. Grommet would provide a familiar user experience.

For example, Adobe products have a specific look and feel that's different from Adobe SiteCatalyst. An employee could use SiteCatalyst and see the similarities to Insight and AEM.

"Something like that across all of our analytics products would actually work well," Galbraith said. "The look and feel across everything would be excellent."

Grommet follows years of open source contributions by HP. In addition, all of software-based work on HP's upcoming computing system, The Machine, is also all open source, Fink said. HP is already contributing to the Linux kernel to support memory-driven computing, the basis for The Machine.

What HP has with Grommet appears to be unique and important in that it provides support across the HP ecosystem, Bozman said.

"I can understand why they want to make it open source," she said.

Fink said HP is "all-in on open source," adding that the company is the number one contributor to the OpenStack Project, which is tied to the company's Helion Rack. The company also contributes large bodies of code to the Cloud Foundry project.

Along with its strong support for OpenStack and open-source Linux, HP also has strong partnerships with software-defined infrastructure vendors -- including Microsoft and VMware, according to Bozman.

"Those partnerships won't go away due to this OpenStack project and community open-source development," she said.

Robert Gates covers data centers, data center strategies, server technologies, converged and hyperconverged infrastructure and open source operating systems for SearchDataCenter. Follow him @RBGatesTT

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